Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Carnage Fowls-up Bike Lane and Sidewalk at Foxtrot Intersection

You might recall the graphic of 20 years of bridgehead "multi-modalism" posted to the City's Third Bridge website and first presented in February at a City Club Talk.

One of the key intersections in it was Commercial at Division.

Fowl Carnage in the Bike Lane:  Salem-Style Multi-modalism
Yesterday a spectacular crash with thousands of stinky factory-farmed chickens, which Salem police indicated was caused by a truck driver driving too fast as she tried to negotiate a turn, spilled onto the bike lane and sidewalk.

Fortunately, there was no one on the sidewalk or bike lane, though several cars for sale on the car lot sustained damage.

Commercial at Division, Northbound
While the crash seems to have been caused by driver misjudgment, it is important to note that the intersection is designed with broad, sweeping curves, and is engineered for through-put.  It encourages speed.  It is an urban highway.

It's also a charlie foxtrot.

The sidewalk, bike lane, and median configuration is all shoe-horned into the design after the high-speed needs of cars have been satisfied.

Commercial Corridor Crash Counts
Regional Operational Characteristics Report
2012 SKATS
And while it ranks in the middle of crashes by count (not necessarily by rate!) along the Commercial Corridor north, it's still not perceived as safe:
Mike Sullivan, facilitator for Lithia Honda of Salem, [said]

The intersection has seen crashes before...

“It’s pretty common in that corner.”
It may not be one of the most dangerous in the city, but it's certainly one of the most uncomfortable and least attractive, something mainly only the "strong and fearless" will use.

After the car dealerships move to the Parkway, the City envisions redeveloping it with mixed-uses, including residences. The Sustainable City Initiative projects included three proposals for the car dealerships.

Crash site @ "m" in Mixed-Use!
City of Salem:  Downtown Focus, Current and Planned Investments
from Urban Development
The intersection needs some traffic calming and a redesign so it is actually multi-modal and offers an attractive place for people to make some proportion of trips on foot or on bike.  The balance is tipped right now all too much in favor of through-put.

Earlier this year a survey about possible housing in the area touched on this.

(And just in case pro-Bridge folks happen to be reading:  No, this crash, and all the others, are not even close to a good reason to locate a giant bridge and highway outside of the downtown core!)

Not a chance for someone in the bike lane

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